Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu says a total lockdown is imminent if the cases of coronavirus continue to increase.
Sanwo-Olu said this while giving an update on the situation of the pandemic in the state at the State House in Marina on Friday.
Out of the 70 confirmed cases nationwide, Lagos accounts for 44, but the governor said going by the development, the state was gradually moving towards the number.
Sanwo-Olu said, “We are moving in the direction of a total lockdown but there are numbers or indices that we need to see before we carry it out, which we have yet to see. We need to see a huge spike in the numbers of confirmed cases, so, we are looking at that.”
Sanwo-Olu also said based on available data, out of the 44 confirmed cases in the state, Ikeja and Eti-Osa local government areas had the highest number of patients, adding that the government was focusing on those areas.
However, the state Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi, in an earlier press briefing said the state might witness 39,000 cases of COVID-19 in a worst-case scenario.
Abayomi, therefore, urged residents to adhere to the social distancing rules to contain the spread of the disease.
He said, “Our mathematical modelling shows that the worst-case scenario is that we may see up to 39,000 cases in Lagos, but if everyone practises good social distancing, the figure will be limited to 13,000.
“If we add social distancing to active contact tracing, then we will be able to bend the curve further. The figures may seem alarming at this point, but this is just to emphasise to the Lagos community to follow the instructions of the incident commander to make sure that we practise social distancing.
“Looking at the same timeframe from the introduction of the index case, you can see that Lagos State is not seen anywhere near what Spain, Italy, and Iran are showing. So, at weeks two and three of our index case, we are flat and at week four, we have 37 cases; while at the same fourth week, Italy, Iran, and Spain had more than 20,000 cases.”
The commissioner added that the state was tracing 3,000 contacts who might have had contact with some of the confirmed cases.
Meanwhile, Sanwo-Olu directed a dusk-to-dawn curfew in Lagos starting from Sunday to allow the state to carry out a comprehensive disinfection of the metropolis.
He also said the state would close the domestic airport.
He said, “I am hereby directing a statewide curfew from 8pm to 6am, starting from Sunday until further notice. This is to enable us to carry out comprehensive disinfection of the Lagos Metropolis.
“I am pleased to note that we have taken possession of over 200 disinfecting machines, and starting today, we will be disinfecting all major highways, bus stops, markets, parks, and other public areas.
“With effect from Sunday, we will be closing the domestic airport in Lagos, the General Aviation Terminal and the MM2. All movements in and out of Lagos through the two domestic terminals will, therefore, be suspended from Sunday for two weeks in the first instance. The only exceptions will be flights carrying essential supplies and those on emergency operations.”
He further said travelling in and out of Lagos would be restricted on Sunday, adding that all inter-state motor parks should shut down for two weeks.
The governor also signed into law the Emergency Coronavirus Pandemic Bill 2020 passed by the House of Assembly.
The law empowers the governor to punish violators of the shutdown order policy.
Also, Sanwo-Olu said 14 Nigerian students were rescued on Thursday at Seme border.
According to him, the students are being tested for coronavirus and if found negative will be allowed to go home.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control on Friday said the number of persons confirmed to have been infected with coronavirus in Nigeria had risen to 70, after five new cases were confirmed.
While giving an update on the coronavirus during the press briefing in Abuja on Friday afternoon, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, confirmed 65 cases.
Later in the evening, the NCDC on its website said two cases were confirmed in Oyo State while three were confirmed in Abuja.
It said, “On March 27, five new confirmed cases of COVID-19 (were) recorded in Nigeria. Till date, 70 cases have been confirmed, three cases have been discharged and one death from COVID-19 recorded in Nigeria.
“Of the five new cases reported on March 27, two are in Oyo State and three in Federal Capital Territory. All new cases have mild to moderate symptoms and are currently receiving care.
“A multi-sectoral national Emergency Operations Centre activated at level three continues to coordinate the national response activities.”
The World Health Organisation has warned Nigeria to stop the spread of COVID-19 now that cases are still few.
The world body said it might be too late, too hard, or almost impossible to deal with a much bigger and wider crisis.
The Director-General of the WHO, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, said in Geneva, Switzerland, on Friday Nigeria should stop the virus from spreading by identifying and isolating those who had tested positive.
Nigeria has 70 confirmed cases and one death while three persons have recovered; about 4,370 persons who have had contact with positive cases are also being traced.
But Ghebreyesus said Nigeria might not be able to cope with a surge in cases should the community transmission starts.
He said, “We need to do the public health interventions effectively to test cases, to follow up contacts and isolate the cases so the problem doesn’t grow. Meaning, from the sporadic cases or cluster cases, they would not grow into community transmission.
“The problem comes when community transmission starts, when the number of cases builds; when that happens, then doing the solutions, follow up, quarantine and so on would be difficult if not impossible. At the same time, growing cases means the healthcare system could be overwhelmed too.”
The WHO chief said Nigeria should invest more in public health interventions and follow the body’s guidelines on COVID-19 to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.
Over 25,000 people have died from the coronavirus, more than 550,000 have been infected and over 127,000 have recovered globally.
China has promised to share COVID-19 containment strategies, drugs and vaccines with Nigeria.
The Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Zhou Pingjian, said he and other Chinese diplomats would stay in the country and work closely with medical professionals to defeat the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking while presenting some medical items, including hand gloves, sanitisers, automatic hand dryers and other hygiene products to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abuja on Friday, the envoy said it was imperative for the international community to strengthen confidence, act with unity and work together in a collective response.
Though the situation in China is now under control with life gradually returning to normal, Pingjian said, “Yet, there is no way we will lower our guard or relax control.”
He said his country received strong political support and assistance in various means from the Federal Government and Nigerians during the most difficult period in China’s fight against coronavirus.
The diplomat said, “Despite the daunting task of epidemic control remaining at home, China will try its best to provide medical supplies to Nigeria and do whatever it could to support Nigeria.
“China will continue to share information and experience with Nigeria and strengthen cooperation on containment, treatment and vaccines in response to the COVID-19 challenge, with a view to building together a community of shared health for mankind.”
The Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Mr Lot Egopija, lauded the Chinese government for the donation and the promised assistance.